Woah! Can you believe we are already starting a new school year? Where did summer go? Before the school year gets underway, before the stress of homework and crazy schedules starts, I want to encourage YOU as your child starts a new grade.
I talked to teachers from a range of grade levels, and asked them how we can support them. Of course, each teacher is different so not every tip will be beneficial to every teacher. But I'm hoping that by hearing from a range of teachers and grade levels, we can figure out at least a few ways to help.
Here are the questions I asked them:
How parents can help: encourage children more than getting on to them, spend time playing with them and reading with them, make it a priority to check folder/planner daily, and help the student become responsible for his/her actions (turning in homework, coming to school, etc.) instead of expecting it to happen quickly. They need a model to help them.
Least helpful: communicating angrily to the teacher when upset about a situation. Take time to calm down before communicating.
2. Parents need to allow their child to become more responsible for their homework, lunches, water bottles and most of all their actions!! Especially in the older grades.
3. Lastly, I would let the parents know that each year will be different than the last and it is an exciting change and not a frightening change!
Parents helping the teacher:
1. Let their child know that mistakes are OKAY! Do not beat them down because they didn’t make an A on one assignment. Our job is to teach and let them explore the world and their minds. If your child does not make their desired grade, they need to understand that it will be okay!!
2. Teaching your child the importance of being on time! Each school day is filled with fun and challenging activities, we don’t want them to miss anything! It is also a very important life skill they will need outside of the classroom.
3. Helping with homework!! This is a great way to know what is going on in the classroom and to help build your child’s confidence in their work. When they see that you care about their work, they will start to care about it too.
The least helpful thing a parent can do it emailing the teacher about every little question or detail. Parents need to rely on their child for information too. This again will teach responsibility. The teacher will go over it with the student and will send home some form of communication. This might be an email, a paper sent home or even a phone call!
child, go see your child in the environment to help ease your concerns, questions, fears, etc.
The best ways to help would be to keep up two way communication. Stay involved in your child’s learning. And trust that your child is safe and will be treated equally to the other students.
even in high school to build a relationship so we can help your student the best we can. For my class, getting your students class fee paid or setting up a plan with me if you can’t do it right away helps so much. I depend on that for budgeting for the year and it’s helps me help the students when I have that from the get go. Lastly, if you need something email me! I am happy to help.
Teaching your child to advocate for themselves instead of having the parent come to rescue every time the child is missing something. Teach them responsible use of technology. Teaching their students to be respectful of their time in class and not to be on their phone every minute. They won’t die if they don’t have their phone. Also, don’t text them at school. So many kids use the excuse I’m texting my mom. Make them go to bed at night! So many of my students tell me their parents don’t care when they go to bed! Teenagers need so much sleep and they don’t get it and try to sleep in school! Be the parent, not the friend- don’t automatically take the kids side when a teacher calls home with a problem.
A few things I want to add that aren't helpful, coming from a former teacher. Negative talk in the community, whether your child goes to a public or private school, is not going to make the situation better. Think through things before you say them, especially if its still the heat of the moment.
Failure to communicate is another way to hinder a situation. If you have a question or concern, make it known. Not in an accusatory way, but if you don't say something you can't complain later.
Basically help them talk about what’s diffferent and hard about their new grade while acknowledging that it’s normal and good that they’re being asked to do hard things because they CAN handle harder things.
3. BEDTIME-look at the APA and for the LOVE put them to bed.
4. Please show them studying is important...have a spelling test, quiz them on the words; vocabulary-stick it in quizlet if the teacher doesn’t for you. Show them that you HAVE to study everything, even if it comes easy. This is a HABIT and they need to understand you, the parent, couldn't CARE LESS if they make a 100 or a 70 as long as they are studying and DOING THEIR MAIN JOB
Tips for helping me:
1. BEDTIME...know how many hours SCIENCE says your kid needs and try to get them close.
2. Emphasize effort not grades (right up until 9th grade and then get ‘em a tutor if they’re on the struggle bus - if you can’t afford one National Honor Society, or Junior Honor Society, or the library has free tutoring)
3. Don’t text me or email me until you’ve asked 1st- your child 2nd- the smartest kid’s mom. Use your resources. I have a family and my own kids to supervise homework, dinner and after school activities. You are NOT helping your child by allowing him to not keep track of information and “own” her business
4. Your child should know FROM your MOUTH that after school activities (whether it be sports or gymnastics) are OPTIONAL and they don’t have to do them if they aren’t taking care of their school business
5. TRUST ME.. your child is not the first dyslexic, ADHD, whatever, etc kid I’ve taught and if I’m asking them to do it - chances are, it’s because I think they’re capable and not just because I hate kids and want to make your life and their life miserable. I didn’t choose to teach for the summer breaks or great hours - I chose to teach because I loved learning and wanted other kids to love it like I did (do). I want to be the kind of teacher movies get made about or seniors thank at their banquets - please please please - TRUST ME. 99% of every hard year or situation I’ve had is due to parents who did not trust me to do what my college education and years in the classroom have taught me will be good (even if it’s hard) for their kid
I hope this helps you adjust to your little one growing up (they will always be your little one). Happy new school year!
Jesus lover, wife, momma, teacher, and hopeful writer.